CLEARWATER, Fla. — Didi Gregorius is healthy again and ready to bet on himself.
The former Yankees shortstop has traded midnight blue pinstripes for red, but he is confident that more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, he can return to being the kind of player he was previously.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be [confident]?” Gregorius said Thursday at the Phillies spring training complex.
Gregorius’ new contract backs up his words. He signed with the Phillies on a one-year deal worth $14 million, which could help reset his value after a down year in 2019.
At this time last year, the 29-year-old was still in the middle of rehabbing his surgically repaired right elbow. He returned to the Yankees on June 7 and struggled to find his rhythm at the plate, batting .238 with a .718 OPS in 82 games.
“Everybody [was] mid-form already and now I’m just starting,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot of games to play before I came back. That’s one of those things I was going through.”
It was much different than how Gregorius had performed the previous three years. From 2016-18, the slick-fielding shortstop hit .277 with 72 home runs and a .791 OPS. He had the unenviable task of filling Derek Jeter’s shoes in 2015 and handled it well while becoming a fan favorite.
While the Yankees will move on with Gleyber Torres at shortstop, the Phillies are hoping to get the pre-Tommy John version of Gregorius this season.
“I wasn’t in New York when he was hurt, but he looks like he did three years ago,” said former Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, who now holds the same job with the Phillies. “He’s a heck of a player in all phases of the game. The other thing he brings is a real professional approach, some leadership and there’s a lot of respect for him because of what he’s done in the game.”
Published at Fri, 14 Feb 2020 03:12:56 +0000